Alright Im giving myself a huge pat on the back here but Ive been trying to get a really good batter for fish and chips since I was stationed in Europe in 1975 and camped across the English coast from Dover to Plymouth. Ive done ok before, but not quite 100% - I want a batter that puffs out nicely and stays crispy hard through service. Tonight, for dinner, I got it!
Let me start about a month ago when we had some smelts. I always flavor the fish (salt/pepper) and dredge in flour and deep fry. This time, based on something I read or heard (maybe here, I forget), I mixed some of my Falls Mill white corn meal, which is stone ground very fine, into the flour and dredged the fish in that. The result was wonderful a very crisp and crunchy texture.
So last week, I decided to try the corn meal/flour mixture dredge for my chicken wings. Oops the corn meal flavor definitely doesnt go with buffalo wing sauce, even though its very light. And you lose the impact of any crunchiness you might gain when you soak the wings in the sauce (the way we like it).
So tonight it was two nice, large haddock filets. I made my beer batter one item I had been trying on and off for some time is the use of Guiness since its my favorite brew to drink, and its so flavorful, it ought to be good for cooking. But tonight I verified that youre better off with a lighter beer I used a pale ale. So basically, the batter was 1 egg, about 1 ½-2 cups of flour, 1 Tbsp of baking powder, and beer to get it to the right consistency maybe ¾ of a bottle, or about 9oz.
I cut the haddock into 3 pieces each and dredged the pieces in the mixture of flour and fine corn meal, then dropped in the batter then into the hot oil.
Absolutely fantastic. I wished some of my Brit friends were around so I could get some feedback but my own senses (and my wife and sons) tell me that this is it. Nice crispy hard shell, light brown color, flaky steamy moist fish inside